The simple act of adding one or two houseplants to a room can revitalise the space making it feel more inviting, inspiring, and relaxing.  To succeed with houseplants, choose plants that are suited to the light levels and temperatures you can offer, and adapt your watering to suit each plant.

Tradescantias are houseplant superheroes that will grow in almost any light level. 

Tradescantia spathacea ‘Concolor’ is an upright-growing Tradescantia that forms compact plants made up of handsome rosettes of attractive green foliage.  The pointed leaves are large in size; the foliage is nice and smooth with a lovely sheen.  This plant’s white flowers are borne within green bracts and are held tightly to the plant’s stem.  I am really fond of Tradecantia spathacea ‘Concolor’; it’s a tidy and compact Tradescantia with thicker and much longer leaves than the other varieties I’ve grown. 

Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’ is an intriguing Tradescantia cultivar with olive-green coloured foliage that turns a deep purple colour in light and bright rooms.  I admire this plant’s foliage as it retains an underlying tone of olive-green beneath the purple, which looks beautiful.  This is a fast-growing form of Tradescantia with upright growth that eventually develops a trailing habit as the stems lengthen and the plant ages. 

Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Pixie’ is a very pretty form of Tradescantia with attractive, small, oval-shaped leaves in shades of greyish-green that take on a strong purple tint when the plants are grown in bright, south-facing rooms.  This Tradescantia has an upright growing habit but will develop trailing growth as the plants’ age and their stems lengthen.  The foliage has a light covering of soft, downy hairs. 

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Superba’ are attractive trailing plants with handsome purple and silver variegated foliage.  Each leaf displays wide bands of silver either side of a central purple stripe and every leaf is enhanced with a fine purple outline.  NB: The purple colouration is more subtle when plants are grown in softer lighting, as you see in the leaves of the plant at the top of this page. 

Tradescantia fluminensis can be found growing in the wild in the region that stretches from South Eastern and Southern Brazil through to North Argentina, where the plants grow primarily in the wet tropical biome.  Common names for Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Viridis’ include Spiderwort and Inch Plant, but there are many other common names.  These plants have sweet mid to dark green coloured foliage, whilst the undersides of the leaves are paler in colour and display a slightly silvery tint.

Tradescantia (Continental Group) ‘White Giant’ is a hybrid Tradescantia cultivar with variegated leaves that are striped with attractive fresh-green and white colours.  Tradescantia ‘White Giant’ produces white flowers in summertime; the blooms are pretty short-lived.

When I was a child, I passionately and intensely despised variegated plants.  Over the years, I’ve learnt to love some variegated houseplants; however, I don’t love all of them! 

I am such a fan of Tradescantia sillamontana, I adore this Tradescantia’s woolly foliage!  If I was designing a house for a houseplant flower fairy, the blankets on the fairies’ beds would be made from cosy Tradescantia sillamontana leaves and where these thick leaves have a lovely curve and depth to them – they would make the perfect cot for a flower fairy baby. 

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Burgundy’ is a charming, naturally trailing, sprawling plant with silver and burgundy striped leaves.  Leaf colour will vary on individual plants according to the light levels and different growing conditions the plants experience.  Plants grown in areas that enjoy brighter sunlight, which are only watered when their growing media has begun to dry out will display more vibrantly coloured foliage with a more vivid purple colouring than plants grown in poorer quality sunlight.

Tradescantia cerinthoides ‘Nanouk’ is a striking plant with variegated leaves that look as if they have been artistically painted in complementary shades of ivory, green, and pink.  Each Tradescantia cerinthoides ‘Nanouk’ plant’s variegation will vary according to the lighting and growing conditions the plant experiences.  A Tradescantia cerinthoides ‘Nanouk’ plant grown in more shaded conditions than the plant would wish for will soon start to produce leaves that have more green in their pigmentation. 

Tradescantia zebrina ‘Violet Hill’ is a tender herbaceous perennial that’s a popular houseplant.  With its maroon and silvery-grey coloured foliage, this plant is really quite striking and it’s easy to grow, too!

This is a super choice of plant to grow in an indoor hanging basket.  It’s also a great plant to cultivate as a container plant, to adorn a medium height or high shelf, where your Tradescantia zebrina ‘Violet Hill’ plant’s trailing stems can drape themselves decoratively around the planter, to enhance the space.

Cyanotis somaliensis ‘Kitten Ears’ is from Northern Somalia where it grows in the desert biome and dry shrub-land biomes.  These plants have a bushy, trailing habit and long, lance-shaped leaves that have a fine covering of long hairs that look very attractive, especially when viewed by certain angles in the sunlight.

This plant makes a superb houseplant for a light and bright room. 

Houseplants are almost magical; they can make a dull room look and feel inviting and transform a dreary room into a luxurious and relaxing space.  In this article, I’ll reveal some of the secrets that will ensure your houseplants retain their magic!

First of all, always grow houseplants in containers with holes at their base that allow water to run through the pot and enable air to reach the plant’s roots. 

Specialist Plant Nurseries

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show features an array of award winning specialist nurseries, this is a fabulous place to buy plants!  Whether you’re looking for South African plants, hardy plants, drought tolerant plants, indoor plants, air plants, orchids, ferns, ivy, clematis, herbaceous perennials, bulbous plants, or succulents, you’re sure to find your favourite at this special show!

Journey Latin America’s Inca Garden was designed by Jennifer Jones for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016.  This World Garden was built by Surrey Hills Landscaping and sponsored by Journey Latin America.  The RHS judges awarded the Inca Garden a Silver Medal.